Consolidating In-House B2B Processes May Have Many Potential Benefits

It is often the case, especially in larger companies, that several B2B point solutions might be deployed to accommodate, for instance, different business units. Often, these solutions are sought at different times by different groups, with no real awareness that other solutions are already in place in-house, and with no IT coordination.

Dave Hardman, industry expert in B2B integration, recently suggested that consolidating multiple solutions can have significant benefits for the enterprise.

Increased visibility could be an immediate result of consolidation, he pointed out, as multiple B2B solutions mean multiple transaction logs. A single log makes compliance and transaction management far simpler and less costly, as well as making security easier.

Increased agility and decreased complexity are also proven products of consolidation, he continued. A single integration solution is more scalable and easier to manage overall, with single-point maintenance. The complexity of multiple upgrades, disparate platform maintenance and the proliferation of endpoints in multiple solution also imposes a complexity that is greatly reduced when a single solution is employed.

Hardman pointed out a final important benefit: reduced cost, derived from time and labor saved in reduced maintenance and support. When B2B integration needs across business units are an issue, he recommended that companies consider a single broad and highly scalable platform.

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Awareness and Visibility Will Be Enhanced by the Emerging “Internet of Things”

The Internet of Things – the connection of everyday objects to the Internet – can, and should, enhance awareness and visibility in the digital supply chain, said Sean Riley of SoftwareAG in a recent essay on supply chain trends.

An executive in supply chain management software, Riley noted that the ubiquity of devices able to communicate via public networks is firmly established, as the number of people carrying mobile computing devices continues to rise, and the sheer quantity of devices used for Internet communication is climbing still faster.

A recent Gartner forecast, he pointed out, predicted that the number of interconnected everyday objects, laptops, tablets and smartphones aside, could be as high as 30 billion by 2020.

What would be the effect of the proliferation of such connectedness? According to the Gartner study, Manufacturing would benefit significantly, with a potential cross-sector gain of 15 percent. IoT, Riley pointed out, can offer the digital supply chain greatly increased real-time visibility, which in turn heightens awareness throughout the chain.

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B2B Integration is Strengthening Oil and Natural Gas Transactions

In a recently-implemented tripartite B2B integration effort, Numaligarh Refinery, Limited has streamlined crude oil supply and invoicing with other oil companies, including Oil India, Limited and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, Limited.

Coordinating crude oil transactions via B2B “will enable to NRL cover transactions worth over [$1.7 billion] per annum with OIL and over [$645 million] with ONGC into the ambit of IT-enabled settlement,” according to a statement given at the implementation’s roll-out event in Nazira, Assam.

The increased automation will increase transparency and business efficiency, the statement said. NRL has implemented similar B2B partnerships recently with several petroleum marketing companies, and has implemented e-payment with suppliers and service providers.

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Retailers Need Managed File Transfer(MFT) to Secure Data

Retail has an information security problem. Hundreds of retailers have been hacked in the last decade and latest reports suggest that it could be just the top of the iceberg. More than 1,000 U.S. retailers could be infected with malicious software lurking in their cash register computers, allowing hackers to steal customer financial data, the Homeland Security Department said Friday. Information security is a big challenge for any company but even more so for retail. Credit card theft wary customers may stay away from stores and impact bottom line. Earlier this year Target blamed the data breach for 46% slide in earnings.

Information security is a complex and tricky topic and one of the technologies which improves data security tremendously is Managed File Transfer(MFT). Retailers store and move quite a bit of data between stores and central IT. Additionally they have to exchange lot of data with the suppliers and other partners. Managed File Transfer (MFT) is a class of file transfer systems that use state of art security technology to centralize data transfers in a single system. This protects unauthorized access of data and limits exposure as file transfers happen through one central system. Since this central system uses state of art security and encryption to protect data both at rest and in-transit, it protects against hackers.

Managed File Transfer is finding its use in several sectors in Banking/Finance and Healthcare sectors. As more and more records become digital e.g. EHR (electronic health records), there is an increasing need to encrypt this data and protect it when it is exchanged.  Retailers need to review their security infrastructure to improve security on both ends – the Point of Sale (POS) and enterprise IT side. MFT can provide a secure backbone for enterprise data and work with secure POS systems to keep hackers at bay. Multi channel retail requires that data from each channel be secured and MFT can be the most important system in the middle that secures customer and financial data.

As customer go out and shop this labor day, hope retailers learn from the past breaches and take steps to protect shopper data.

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